The Chinese People’s Liberation Army: A Strategic Asset | By Dr. Mehmood-ul-Hassan Khan


The Chinese People’s Liberation Army: a strategic asset

More recently, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) celebrated its 95th anniversary, which coincided with the unfortunate visit of US Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan, the province separated from mainland China.

In this regard, the PLA stood first and immediately launched all possible “countermeasures” to uphold its “one-China principle”, professional preparation and tactical comparative advantage by holding numerous exercises. live fire in the waters, but did not engage in any kind of “military”. misadventure” which showed his strong belief in “deterrence”, peace and stability.

He was one of the “first” guarantors of Chinese “territorial integrity” and national sovereignty.

He has been the “symbol” of peaceful efforts at home and abroad. Even the United Nations highly values ​​his positive, productive and participatory role in various global peace missions, which confirms his “constructive” policies of engagement with the outside world.

PLA, by conducting live-fire exercises recently, demonstrated several types of advanced equipment, such as the DF-17 hypersonic ballistic missile and the YY-20 air-to-air refueling aircraft which further enhanced its combat and made it one of the best equipped military in the world.

It seems that the Chinese military has ordered a large amount of high-tech weapons and equipment over the past decade, which has been an unprecedented time.

During this period, the country has made it possible to bring the desired modernization of national defense and the armed forces which will be fully realized until 2035.

In this regard, President Xi Jinping always attaches great importance to the development of hardware and technology for China’s armed forces, stressing that advanced weaponry and equipment are essential for military modernization.

Since Xi is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, he has repeatedly urged the PLA to make full use of modern science and technology to enhance its combat capabilities.

Thus, the scientific and technological transformation of the PLA has been one of the Chinese president’s top strategic priorities.

Speaking at a high-level military conference in Beijing several years ago, President Xi told high-ranking commanders that with the evolution of military technologies, the material factor “becomes more important” when it’s about winning a modern war.

He advised them to close the weapon generation gaps as soon as possible.

In addition, he called advanced weaponry a key symbol of a strong military and also an essential pillar of national security and rejuvenation in 2014 when he met with army material development planners and military cadres. state-owned defense contractors.

He pointed out that the Party’s goal has always been to build and operate a well-equipped army.

When celebrating the PLA’s 9th anniversary in 2017, Xi called on the armed forces to uphold scientific and technological innovation and closely follow the latest global trends in defense technology.

During his keynote address, he stressed the importance of visionary planning as well as the search for strategically crucial, cutting-edge and breakthrough technologies.

He urged to utilize and use science and technology facilitating the development of the army and enhancing its operational capabilities.

In addition, the report to the 19th National Congress of the CPC at the end of 2017 set the goal of basically realizing the modernization of national defense and the armed forces by 2035 and fully transforming the armed forces into world-class forces by 2035. the middle of the century.

In this context, at the 19th CPC National Congress, Xi’s “Reflection on Strengthening the Army” answered key questions on building strong armed forces in the new era, including tasks, goals, principles, strategies and approaches, has been included. in the CCP Constitution.

He stressed that defense workers and equipment officers of the armed forces should support the Party’s thinking on strengthening the army and its defense strategies in the new era, speed up the implementation planned tasks for the coming years and establish a modern management system for equipment.

As a result, the PLA has now been transformed and equipped with highly advanced hardware such as stealth fighters, aircraft carriers, large destroyers and hypersonic missiles.

It seems that the new equipment has greater firepower, greater information processing capacity and better mobility.

Interestingly, the PLA Air Force has become the world’s second largest operator of stealth fighter aircraft after the United States thanks to the deployment of the domestically developed J-20.

In this context, China’s first stealth fighter aircraft, the J-20 was designed and manufactured by Aviation Industry Corp of China and is widely regarded as one of the finest fighter aircraft built in modern times.

The aircraft made its maiden flight in January 2011 and was officially declassified in November 2016 when it held a brief flight performance at the 11th China International Aviation and Aerospace Show.

It was commissioned into the PLA Air Force later that year, becoming the world’s third stealth fighter aircraft to enter service after the American F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II.

Thus, the J-20 is exceptional in terms of situational awareness, electronic warfare and collaboration capability and service of the J-20 is accelerating the transformation of the Air Force to a modernized strategic force and the also helps gain superiority in the global race for an aerospace force.

Thus, the aircraft enabled the PLA Air Force to engage any other high level fighter aircraft and significantly improved its operational capabilities.

The same goes for Y-20, which also boasts world-class transport capability made possible by the Y-20 strategic airlifter.

It is one of the largest strategic airlifters in the world, which first flew in January 2013, making China the third country after the United States and Russia capable of developing combat aircraft. strategic transport.

It was delivered to the PLA Air Force in July 2016. It easily weighs around 200 metric tons and can transport cargo and personnel long distances in all weathers, enhancing the PLA Air’s strategic power projection capability. Strength.

In conclusion, the PLA has become a “strategic asset” of China. Even the Chinese Navy has achieved enormous modernization over the past decade.

It is hoped that the world’s largest and most advanced conventionally powered aircraft carrier, which is in the final stages of construction at China State Shipbuilding Corp’s Jiangnan shipyard in Shanghai, will be a gigantic ship that will displace more than 80,000 tons of water.

It will use an electromagnetic launch system, or electromagnetic catapult, to launch fixed-wing aircraft.

China always observes a defense policy that is defensive in nature. Nevertheless, it is necessary for the Chinese military to have world-class weapons and equipment because it must be able to defend China’s territorial integrity and mitigate all adversaries and ensure that it will never again be intimidated by external imperialist forces in the future.

The Armed Forces of Pakistan and the PLA have a strategic partnership that ensures regional peace and stability and acts as a balancing act.

—The author is director of the Center for South Asia and International Studies in Islamabad and regional expert, China, CPEC and BRI.

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